Family Week 2014

National Week of Life and the Family
May 14 - 21, 2017 

Theme: Love Grows by Giving

The Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) celebrates the National Week for Life and Family this week, May 14 – 21, 2017. The theme of the week is, “Love Grows by Giving” and families and parishes are asked to reflect on Pope Francis Apostolic Exhortation, The Joy of Love. Check out the resources at If you are interested in the Catholic Organization for Life and Family’s study guide on Pope Francis’  ‘Amoris Laetitia: The Joy of Love’ please contact Teresa in the Family Ministry Office at 905-528-7988 ext. 2250.

Read Bishop Crosby's Message in English 

Read Bishop Crosby's Message in French 

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Prayer for the Protection of Human Life

Heavenly Father,
Lord and Maker of all that is good,
fill our hearts with joy before the wonders of your creation.
Open our eyes to the presence of your beloved Son Jesus
in all those we encounter
and especially in the weakest and most vulnerable
among us.
Where we see life threatened,
at its beginning,
or at its end,
or by poverty and deprivation,
inspire us with love and mercy,
so that, empowered by your Holy Spirit,
we may work together to defend human dignity.
Help us to build a culture of life:
a culture in which each and every person
is loved and valued as your child,
from conception
to natural death,
and in every circumstance of life.
Mary, mother of the living, pray for us!

Catholic Organization for Life and Family (

Excerpts on Family from the Catechism of the Catholic Church

In creating man and woman, God instituted the human family and endowed it with its fundamental constitution. Its members are persons equal in dignity. For the common good of its members and of society, the family necessarily has manifold responsibilities, rights, and duties. (CCC 2203)

The Christian family is a communion of persons, a sign and image of the communion of the Father and the Son in the Holy Spirit. In the procreation and education of children it reflects the Father's work of creation. It is called to partake of the prayer and sacrifice of Christ. Daily prayer and the reading of the Word of God strengthen it in charity. the Christian family has an evangelizing and missionary task. (CCC 2205)

The family is the original cell of social life. It is the natural society in which husband and wife are called to give themselves in love and in the gift of life. Authority, stability, and a life of relationships within the family constitute the foundations for freedom, security, and fraternity within society. The family is the community in which, from childhood, one can learn moral values, begin to honor God, and make good use of freedom. Family life is an initiation into life in society. (CCC 2207)

For Christians a special gratitude is due to those from whom they have received the gift of faith, the grace of Baptism, and life in the Church. These may include parents, grandparents, other members of the family, pastors, catechists, and other teachers or friends. "I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, dwells in you." (CCC 2220)

Parents must regard their children as children of God and respect them as human persons. Showing themselves obedient to the will of the Father in heaven, they educate their children to fulfill God's law. (CCC 2222)

Parents have the first responsibility for the education of their children. They bear witness to this responsibility first by creating a home where tenderness, forgiveness, respect, fidelity, and disinterested service are the rule. The home is well suited for education in the virtues. This requires an apprenticeship in self-denial, sound judgment, and self-mastery - the preconditions of all true freedom. (CCC 2223)

The home is the natural environment for initiating a human being into solidarity and communal responsibilities. Parents should teach children to avoid the compromising and degrading influences which threaten human societies. (CCC 2224) 

Catholic Quotes on Family

The family, grounded on marriage freely contracted, monogamous and indissoluble, is and must be considered the first and essential cell of human society.(BLESSED POPE JOHN XXIII)

The family is, so to speak, the domestic church. In it parents should, by their word and example, be the first preachers of the faith to their children; they should encourage them in the vocation which is proper to each of them, fostering with special care vocation to a sacred state (Dogmatic Constitution on the Church)

This mission—to be the first and vital cell of society – the family has received from God. It will fulfill this mission if it appears as the domestic sanctuary of the Church by reason of the mutual affection of its members and the prayer that they offer to God in common, if the whole family makes itself a part of the liturgical worship of the Church, and if it provides active hospitality and promotes justice and other good works for the service of all the brethren in need.(Apostolicam Actuositatem)

Through God’s mysterious design, it was in that family (the Holy Family) that the Son of God spent long years of a hidden life. It is therefore the prototype and example for all Christian families. It was unique in the world. Its life was passed in anonymity and silence in a little town in Palestine. It underwent trials of poverty, persecution and exile. It glorified God in an incomparably exalted and pure way. And it will not fail to help Christian Families – indeed, all the families in the world – to be faithful to their day-to- day duties, to bear the cares and tribulations of life, to be open and generous to the needs of others, and to fulfill with joy the plan of God in their regard.(Familiaris Consortio, 86) 


May 10-17, 2015 

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The family accompanies the dying with love

Catholic Organization for Life and Family
Message on the occasion of the National Week for Life and the Family

Each year the Church in Canada designates one week as a special time for prayer and reflection on life and the family. In light of the recent judgment of the Supreme Court of Canada relative to the issue of assisted suicide, it is appropriate that we turn our attention to the call of the family to draw near to the dying, and, indeed, to any who suffer, and accompany them with love. Experience has shown that, among those who approach the end of life, the greatest fear is not that of suffering but of being alone. Nothing can alleviate that anxiety better than the loving presence of family members.

For many people today, life is valuable only to the extent that it is useful. This can lead to the abandonment of the weak. Too often forgotten is human life's intrinsic dignity, which nothing – not even illness – can diminish. This truth must be handed on and honoured in the family, above all in the way we share love with one another. 

As followers of the Lord Jesus, we are called to imitate Him in His self-giving love. It is God’s intention that the family be the privileged place where we encounter this unconditional love, especially in the selfless love of a mother and a father. Through our union with Christ in prayer and the sacraments, our weaknesses are healed by his mercy and we are enabled to become the loving individuals that God calls us to be.

As Pope Francis reminded the people of the Philippines during his visit to that country in January of this year: “In the family we learn how to love, to forgive, to be generous and open, not closed and selfish. We learn to move beyond our own needs, to encounter others and share our lives with them. That is why it is so important to pray as a family! That is why families are so important in God’s plan for the Church!”

During this year’s National Week for Life and Family, let us all reflect on the wonderful role which has been entrusted to the family. Let us ask ourselves how we can better reflect God’s unconditional love, whether in the context of our own day to day family life or as we strive to support the families with whom we are in contact. Let us be guided by the immortal words of Saint John Paul II: “As the family goes, so goes the nation, and so goes the whole world in which we live.”

Further Reading

Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide: Why not? Quick answers to common arguments

Life Giving Love. A National Campaign for Palliative and Home Care: Against Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide

A Warning for Canada: Oregon’s Experience with Assisted Suicide Shows Safe Guards Don’t Work


Euthanasia and Physician Assisted Suicide FAQ

Give Us Time

Death with Dignity